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Ukraine 90, Crimea 51, U.s. 43, United States 21, Obama 17, Us 16, Vladimir Putin 13, Nato 12, Victoza 10, Europe 8, John Kerry 7, United Kingdom 7, Cnn 7, Kerry 6, Barbara Starr 6, Moscow 6, Anderson Cooper 5, Georgia 5, Citi 5, Syria 5,
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  CNN    CNN Newsroom    Latest on the day's top news stories with a  
   focus on global news, trends and destinations.  

    March 4, 2014
    11:00 - 1:01pm PST  

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continue, i suspect, for several days, up and down, up and down. we'll see what happens tomorrow and the rest of today. allison, thanks very much. that's it for me. for our international viewers, am am am amanpour is next. "newsroom" starts right now. i'm brianna keilar in for brook baldwin. president obama and his secretary of state reject russia's reasoning for what's happening in ukraine. right now ukrainian ministry officials say at least 16,000 russian troops are in ukraine's heavily pro-russia state of cr if the m imea. but john kerry who visited the capitol of kiev and president obama insisted what vladimir putin says does not match what's
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happening on the ground. >> i don't think that's fooling anybody. i think everybody recognizes that although russia has legitimate interests in what happens in a neighboring state, that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state. >> we condemn the russian federation's act of aggression. it is clear that russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further. russia has talked about russian-speaking minority citizens who are under siege. they're not. and in fact this government has acted remarkably responsibly by urging total calm. >> now, today mr. putin would not acknowledge to reporters that russian troops were even in crimea, but he did say his intentions are not a takeover of
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crimea. >> we are not going to go to wor with ukraine, but you crepe has the army. i want you to understand clearly. if we do this, it will only be to protect local people. >> now, russia plans to meet with nato tomorrow but russia has rejected a meeting with the u.s., ukraine and the united kingdom. secretary kerry has promised $1 billion in loan guarantees to ukraine. i'm going to turn to senior white house correspondent jim acosta. so, jim, you have both the secretary of state and president obama expressing a lot of support for ukraine today and the administration seemed to offer president putin perhaps a way out of this crisis. >> that's right, brianna. i think that's what the president and the administration has been saying all along through this, that there are these off-ramps for vladimir putin if he wants to bring in international observers to deal with some of these questions that he has about the safety of ethnic russians, which by the way the administration rejects,
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then bring in international observers. i will tell you we just came out of what was supposed to be a budget briefing and as you know the president was making those remarks earlier at a budget event. it just shows you how much ukraine and the events are dominating everything right now. i had a chance to ask white house press secretary jay carney about vladimir putin's claim that those are not russian troops in crimea and jay carney said that, quote, it is patently obvious that those are russian troops in crimea, so at this pointing the united states and russia are really on different pages when it comes to the facts, as you heard the president saying earlier this morning that vladimir putin is just dealing with a different set of interpretation, a different set of facts at this point. but one thing that i thought was very interesting about what president obama said is when he said that it appear that say from looking at reports that vladimir putin is pausing and reflecting on what's happening in ukraine and i asked jay carney about that. they are basically taking that from remarks that vladimir putin
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said earlier today. so that might be an indication perhaps of some hope that this is heading in the right direction, but at this point the administration and the president on down, they just don't believe that vladimir putin is dealing with reality on the ground in crimea. >> let's talk about the stakes here, jim. some have said that this is president obama's biggest test on foreign policy. that's quite a statement. but when you're looking, what is at stake for him here? >> well, as you know, you've been here at the white house, it seems that every few months or so there's the biggest test of president obama's presidency. syria was one of those tests, iran's nuclear program was one of those tests and now you have ukraine. but you do have the sense that even though the president has rejected that he's involved in this international chess match with vladimir putin that the president is being tested here and he is being tested by vladimir putin. but what the president believes and what the administration has said will continue to be the case is that the united states has the world on its side and
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russia does not have the world on its side. as vladimir putin continues to go down this road, he's going to continue to isolate himself not only extra teestrategically bec have a lot of bordering states to russia saying, wait a minute, maybe we'll be next. president obama making the case this morning that that's bringing those states closer to the west. but you also have the economic consequences, the diplomatic consequences and what the administration is hoping is that collectively all of that will bring to bear the result they want to see in the long run and that is for russia to back off of ukraine. >> jim acosta, thank you for breaking that down. while leaders exchange tough talk, the situation on the ground in crimea has been subdued, pretty much, except for this. [ yelling ] >> crimean tv shows russian forces firing shots into the air
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to warn approaching ukrainian soldiers who did not have weapons. this happened at an air base in crimea where ben wedeman is joining us live. ben, why were those warning shots fired? >> reporter: yes, what happened was that the camp commander led more than 100 of his men to the positions where these men in green, it looks like they're russian paratroopers, were located on their base, which is just outside. as they approached, they were chanting one of their marching songs, but none of these ukrainian soldiers had any weapons. as they got close to the russians, the russians started to fire warning shots overhead. nonetheless, the ukrainians continued to move forward and you see quite clearly, we obtained a tape actually shot by one of those soldiers. you see one of the russians holding his weapon, prepared and
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shouting. he shouts to them "i have orders. i will shoot you in the legs if you come any further." fortunately, there were cool heads on both sides. the ukrainian camp commander basically said to the russians, look, we don't have any weapons. you have the weapons here. eventually the situation calmed down and a real crisis was averted. if there had been bloodshed, that would have been the first bloodshed since russian troops came into -- or started to deploy around crimea last friday. and this incident really underscores the hair trigger that this area is really facing. >> ben, you're also seeing another side to this crisis. ukrainian soldiers who are taking a more casual approach. >> reporter: well, the ukrainians -- i wouldn't say casual, i would say that they're being cautious. they're trying to avoid
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provocations, avoid at this sort of serious confrontations, but they're very nervous. we were at the base outside this city where you have to keep in mind that these are not just soldiers and officers on these bases, they live with their families as well. they have children, wives, husbands in some cases. and they are worried that if there is a bloody confrontation at one of these bases, it would be more than just their comrades who could be at risk. so you go to these -- i've been to several of these bases where there have been russians around the perimeter or the men in green with the ukrainians on the inside. and most of the time the situation is under control. but i wouldn't say it's laid back. there's really, as we saw today, the potential for real violence. >> and that's obviously the concern there, that there could be a provocation with unintended
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consequences. ben wedeman, thank you so much. you know, we just heard today from russia's vladimir putin breaking his silence in a press conference in moscow with some unusual accusations against the u.s. >> translator: how is it possible to bring this to anarchy to an armed coup, bring it to such chaos. our western partners are doing this in the ukraine for the first time. i have a feeling in america people are doing experiments on rats without knowing the consequences. why do they need to do this? nobody has an explanation. >> joining me from moscow, phil black, our international correspondent. so, phil, putin there defending the invasion. he called it a humanitarian mission. he even said the troops that have effectively taken control of crimea are not in fact russian. how did he justify the moves that we understand russian forces have taken? >> reporter: what invasion
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effectively, president putin said today. he insists as you've touched on that these soldiers on the ground, despite how professional they look, how they're armed, despite the fact they're driving around armored vehicles, some of them with russian registration plates on them, insists they're not russian forces but in his words local self defense teams. very well prepared local self defense teams. he says he was asked about the uniforms and he said these are things you can pick up in shops across states that used to belong to the soef yviet unions. he was pressed were russians part of this and he said no. this fits the narrative that what you're seeing there is local homegrown grassroots rejection of what's going on in kiev, the change of government there. vladimir putin talked about the need to respect crimeans' right to determine their own destiny, basically. in the near future they're planning to hold a referendum to vote and whether or not they should seek greater independence
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from ukraine. >> and, phil, what did he say about ukraine's new leaders as well as the whereabouts of the ousted president, viktor yanukovych? >> reporter: well, he said the new leadership of ukraine seized power through an illegal coup. take a listen. >> translator: as to the -- whether this current authority are legitimate, partly yes, but the rest of them are not. the executive -- the acting president of course is not legitima legitimate. the legitimate president is yanukovych. >> reporter: president putin said he met with viktor yanukovych just two days ago and putin's position is yanukovych is the one true leader of
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ukraine but he said to yanukovych's face that he has no political future. he is political dead meat. putin points to the fact yanukovych wrote a letter asking for military assistance in ukraine as one of the reasons why military action in that country would in effect be legitimate, why it would be in keeping with international law, because in putin's view that one legitimate leader, even if he has no power, has no future, asked for that russian help. >> phil black, thank you so much. and we have much more on the crisis in ukraine coming up. the u.s. is threatening sanctions against russia. we're learning more about those sanctions and how putin might respond. plus the dow reacting to the events going on in ukraine, but maybe not how you would expect. after tanking yesterday, check this out, the dow up almost 210 points. we'll explain what's behind that big rebound. we're also following developments in the oscar pistorius trial. the blade runner charged with murdering his girlfriend. hear how today's testimony could be a major blow to the
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we continue cnn's extended coverage of the crisis in ukraine. there are new developments involving nato. cnn has learned that nato plans an extremely rare meeting with russian officials tomorrow in brussels. nato's secretary general spoke after an emergency meeting requested by poland. >> we will consult whenever any ally thinks that the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any nato member is threatened. >> nato's secretary general rasmussen said russia continues to violate ukraine's sovereignty. nato has also told cnn that it,
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quote, sees absolutely no verification of any of the claims being made by vladimir putin that there is violence and a need for humanitarian assistance for russian citizens or ethnic russians living in crimea. so let's talk now about economic sanctions. jim sciutto is reporting for us today that measures being considered by the obama administration including freezing overseas assets of russian individuals and companies, banning russian leaders and business people from international travel, perhaps even excluding russian banks from the international system of finance, which would obviously hurt economically. now, josh rogen is with us, the senior correspondent for "the daily beast." so, josh, listening to, as you have, to secretary kerry, his emphasis seemed to be less about threatening sanctions than pleading with putin to fix his problems with ukraine politically, not militarily. how do you think -- do you think that's sort of an accurate assessment? how do you think putin may be responding to those urgings from
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the u.s.? >> there is no doubt that the obama administration is pursuing a two-track approach. one is to prepare punitive measures against vladimir putin if he doesn't agree to make progress on the issue and two is to give him an off-ramp to give him a path of diplomacy to escape this crisis, avoiding the punishments that the u.s. and the rest of the world are preparing. it's clear from vladimir putin's press conference today that he does not see these sanctions as a threat. he basically said bring it on. and he warned that sanctions work two ways. they punish the people being sanctioned but also punish the people bringing the sanctions. this is the same dynamic that kept us from sanctioning russia after 2008 and georgia. so sanctions are a risky game. it's not clear they would be effective in changing putin's calculus. and this is in the mind of those who are less amenable to sanctions as they decide whether or not to pursue them.
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>> let's talk about that. if you're germany, if you're britain, you're more concerned about putting sanctions on russia as you mentioned because of the economic ties. a lot of gas needs in europe are fulfilled by russia. do you think there's any chance that the british and the germans would sign on to meaningful sanctions against the russians or do you think we would see what we saw in 2008 when it came to georgia? >> sure. the best sanctions are multi lateral sanctions, but of course the russians care much more about their economic reeglation with europe than they do about their economic relations with the united states. that runs both ways boss germany and britain have more to lose. their economies are on more shaky ground. their position is to get to a position they can all agree on. these events are moving forward and the situation can become intractable and the effectiveness of the sanctions
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goes down over time. so we're racing against the clock and the obama administration wants to work with allies before deciding what to do but time is really not on their side. >> josh, you say unilateral sanctions obviously aren't as effective as multi lateral sanctions with more countries supporting them, but what could the u.s. really do? there's discussion of sanctions against some of, say, putin's cronies, some of the wealthier russians. obviously they want to travel. the u.s. could stop that. they could sort of get -- they could get in the way of their finances. would that be effective or are you just talking about something on the margins here? >> right. we've got two baskets of options. one goes against individuals. these could be government officials, military officials, business officials. these could be crimeans working against the government in kiev. the idea is to find those people that can influence putin and put the squeeze on them and hopefully they'll put the squeeze on putin to change his mind. the second basket is things to
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hurt the economy more broadly. banking sanctions, trade sanctions. this is meant to put pressure on putin from all different sectors of the russian society. these are much more difficult to implement and have much more effect on the global economy. so this is all part of what the administration is deciding now. they haven't made a decision. i think the jury is still out. we'll have to wait and see where they decide to go. >> and we'll be waiting to see after they weigh their options what they come up with. josh rogen, thanks for breaking it down for us. >> any time. next, take a look at the markets today. the dow up 209 points. this comes after uncertainty in ukraine caused a very big drop, you'll remember. we'll head to wall street next to check that out. plus critics calling out president obama for being weak, for not responding quickly enough to the situation in ukraine. how are democrats defending against those accusations? we'll be talking to both sides. across america, people are taking charge of
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stocks are rebounding today after russian president putin said at least for now he has no plans to take military action in ukraine. you can take a look. the dow is up more than 200 points. the s&p reached a new all-time high and the nasdaq hit another 14-year high. business correspondent alison kosik joining us now. so markets in europe as well as asia also did pretty well today. this is quite the bounce-back that we saw from yesterday. >> reporter: oh, yeah. the bulls certainly taking charge around the world. you look at the dow, you think about what happened yesterday. it had one of the biggest losses of the year and today it's shaping up to be one of the biggest gains of the year. you look at the s&p 500, it's
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never been higher. analysts also have a positive spin on this. they say that the sell-off that happened yesterday wound up being a buying opportunity for many investors. it really does seem to be the case. before you pop those champagne corks and think this is fine, not out of the woods yet. many american companies continue watching the developments in ukraine and russia very closely. big companies like deere and caterpillar and dupont. those companies do a lot of business in ukraine, it's a big agricultural country. but analysts say as long as the situation doesn't get worse at this point, the market concerns will definitely fade. as you said, it seems to be the thinking overseas as well, those markets in asia and europe, they turned around as well. we saw oil prices do a 180, they're recovering from a big surge yesterday. oil prices are down 1.5%. remember, a lot of oil flows from russia through the ukraine, so the thinking for now is that with oil being one of russia's biggest exports, it's a big
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money maker, so maybe russia is not going to want to stop selling it. >> yeah, that's right. lots of pipelines going from russia through the ukraine to europe. thanks so much. has president obama done enough in response to the situation in ukraine? well, it depends who you ask. so next we're talking to experts on both sides of the aisle about his reaction to this so far. plus, could a little known treaty force the u.s. and other nations to take action? we'll tell you about a document called the budapest memorandum and how it could impact the u.s. response here. [phones rings]
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breaking news here on cnn. russia has test fired a missile. let's get straight to cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr for the latest. what's going on here, barbara? >> reporter: brianna, two u.s. officials tell us that they can confirm in the last four hours russia fired an intercontinental ballistic missile, test fired. it was a test. and a test only. it launched and landed in kazakhstan, a remote area that the russians use for test firing these kinds of missiles. u.s. officials also tell us that they knew this was going to happen. under arms control treaties, the start treaty which regulates missiles, the russians notified the u.s. they gave them a four-hour window in which they expected to conduct the test. all within the rules and regulations of the start treaty so the u.s. was notified that this test firing of an
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intercontinental ballistic missile was going to happen and they were notified before the crisis in ukraine. this had been on the books we are told for some time. but nonetheless, getting a lot of attention because in these periods of tension, people want to know exactly what's going on and we are told that this one, the u.s. knew about it, expected it, saw it coming, and that it was in fact purely a test. it's something the russians do fairly often and so does the united states. brianna. >> so from the sources you're talking to, they're not -- because russia notified the u.s. before these events in the ukraine erupted, they're not reading this as any sort of message, as any sort of muscle flexing or do they sort of think that it might be? >> well, i have to tell you, at this point we've talked to officials in a couple of different u.s. agencies that track this sort of thing and they're pretty, if you'll let me use the word, they're pretty chill about the whole thing. they're not too exercised about
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it. they don't see it right now as any kind of flexing of muscle. because the russians had told them some time ago that they were planning to do it. i think they'll be a little more analysis, technical analysis of the missile, of the launch, exactly what the russians did tell the u.s. until then, the u.s. would come to a very final conclusion about it. but for now officials say they knew it was going to happen. brianna. >> okay. barbara starr, stay with us. i'm going for t.o. bring in general mark kimett on the phone to talk a little about this and break this down. general, we heard barbara starr explaining this is something that happens with somewhat regularity. all well and okay under the start treaty, the nuclear arms reduction agreement between the u.s. and russia. how do you read this, the test firing of an icbm? >> well, i think barbara has got
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it exactly right, that nobody seems to be particularly exercised about this at this time because there was prenotification before the ukraine crisis. but i think that recognizing the context of it, of the time we're in right now with some significant challenges going on between ukraine and the united states, it probably would have been seen as a sign of good will on the part of president putin if he had in fact put this to the side. now, the fact that he has gone ahead with it is not provocative, but i think a lot more comfort would have emerged had he actually cancelled this. i think barbara is right that we can't read too much into this, but in the middle of a crisis i would have been much more -- feeling much more sanguine about this had he put this to the side rather than go ahead with the test. >> let me ask you this. if he had not gone ahead with
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this, and we should remind our viewers that this was already on the books, already on the calendar before this crisis in ukraine erupted, if he'd put it aside, it might have been seen as a sign of good will. but let's look at it perhaps from russia's perspective. do you think one of the reasons that he perhaps did go ahead with it was because it's a show of strength in a way? this is on the books, we're going to continue doing this, wee not going to put this to the side. >> well, i think that's exactly right. i think it's a "in your face" move that says regardless of what we're doing in ukraine, we're going to go ahead with not only our activities in the ukraine, we're also going to go ahead with our activities within the limits of the start treaty. and to me the message i take away from this is that president putin says what i'm doing in ukraine is validated, what i'm doing with this missile launch is validated, and nobody can tell me that either of those activities are outside the
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balance of russian priorities. >> general mark kimmitt, thanks for the explainer on that. just to recap what we have been covering here just in the last couple of minutes, russia has test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile. this was something that was already on the calendar, russia had already alerted the u.s. that it was going to do this, so it's not being read right now by experts, by observers as some sort of perhaps aggressive act or act that puts a statement out there more than perhaps just proceeding with this launch -- test firing, i should say, of a missile that was already on the schedule. however, we'll continue to analyze this as we do, obviously, look at the situation in the ukraine. we should mention as we understand it, according to barbara starr, that missile landed, we believe, in kazakhstan. so we'll continue to follow that.
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next we'll take a closer look at how president obama has reacted to the situation in ukraine. we'll be talking to experts on both sides of the aisle about his reaction. [ male announcer ] legalzoom has helped start over 1 million businesses. if you have a business idea, we have a personalized legal solution
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perhaps as alarming as it sounds. there is no clear link here to what's going on in ukraine, where russian troops have come into the autonomous region of crimea in ukraine. this was actually something, we understand, was on the calendar before. nonetheless, it comes at a very sensitive time so let's go to moscow where cnn's phil black can give us some context here. phil, listening to, for instance, some of the sources talking to cnn's barbara starr, there doesn't seem to be a tremendous amount of alarm, but still when russia does something like this, launching -- test firing an icbm during such a sensitive time, there may also be a bit of a message, no? what do you think? >> reporter: well, i don't think there's anything on the surface of this, brianna, to try any nasty conclusions about this. >> okay. >> reporter: i think it does just appear to be a regular scheduled test firing of an intercontinental ballistic missile. to be clear, what we know happened is that it's an older
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model, these are fired from mobile launches. this was fired in the south of the country. because it is an older model missile, it was not the missile itself being fired but they were testing out some new warheads. we know that russia has a big strategic nuclear arsenal. a lot of it is old, a lot in need of modernization, they're spending a lot of money on it, so these sorts of tests are indeed routine. we understand this has taken place under existing treaties with the united states and notice was given and so forth. so indeed any sort of missile launch can be dramatic in its own way, but in this case we believe this was all routine, following procedure, and as you say, not linked in any way to existing tensions and certainly not linked to the events in ukraine, brianna. >> just business as usual, it appears. phil black, thanks for explaining that to us. phil black in moscow. here's some of the other headlines out of ukraine. secretary of state john kerry was in the capital of kiev today
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meeting with the new government there. he toured the site of last month's deadly protests and both he and president obama spoke out in support of ukraine's government, contradicting vladimir putin's remark that ukraine has no legitimate leadership now. president obama dismissed that claim, adding that russia's aggression in crimea is a violation of international law. >> i would also note, just, you know, the way that some of this has been reported, the suggestion somehow that the russian actions have been clever strategically. i actually think that this has not been a sign of strength but, rather, is a reflection that countries near russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling and if anything, it will push many
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countries further away from russia. >> now, secretary of state john kerry, who just left kiev, for talks in paris was even more forceful. he said all of putin's claims about crimea are false. >> not a single piece of credible evidence supports any one of these claims. none. >> adding to the tensions in crimea, now occupied by thousands of russian troops, are reports that russian warships have blocked the narrow kerch strait between crimea and russia. in an earlier news conference putin denied there were any russian troops in crimea. he said that the 22,000 armed forces there are, quote, self defense teams. now here with me now to talk about some of the politics of this, donna brazile, democratic strategist and cnn commentator as well as ron christie, republican strategist and former special assistant to president
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george w. bush. ron, i've heard a lot of republicans say that vladimir putin watched president obama last september balk at striking syria and that they took that as sort of a sign of weakness, a sign that putin could just waltz into the ukraine without consequence. do you agree with that? >> good afternoon, brianna. yes, i do agree with that. i think it's more than just syria, however. i think you go back to what we did in libya. a dubiously legal campaign to overthrow the leadership of moammar gadhafi the united states was leading from behind. then move forward to syria where the president said there were going to be serious consequences, a red line would be crossed if the use of chemical weapons were used. after that declaration, president obama made that comment in august and of course the syrian president used chemical weapons on his people 14 times after the president made that declaration. so, yes, i do think president putin has taken the measure of our president and determined that he will not move in a very
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strong or forceful way to impose democracy where those who are seeking to take it away. yeah, i think he did take his measure of the president and found him lacking. >> and, donna, i imagine you see this very differently. >> well, ron probably forgets because so many republicans have selective memory syndrome that back in august of 2008 when putin invaded georgia. so look, we know that putin is someone that is trying to recreate the former soviet union. but the worst thing the president of the united states or anyone can do is act in extreme haste. president obama has been very careful in making sure that our allies are informed, collecting information, making the right calls, i believe, not just in the situation in the ukraine where, by the way, 95 people have been killed. shame on those republicans who are spending so much of their political capital cheerleading
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mr. putin when they should be, you know, calling for a cease-fire to ensure that those who are still hospitalized have the care that they need. i'm glad that secretary kerry is there. i think the president's response is the right response at this hour. it doesn't need to be a military response. they have already disbanded the g-8 meeting or the g-7 conference in sochi. and president obama needs to continue to act with the right judgment and not worry about what people are saying about him and what they're calling him, because it's all nonsense. >> before i let both of you go real quick, because we're running out of time here, i want to play devil's advocate with both of you real quick. ron, to you first. donna brought up 2008. one of the things president bush was looking at doing was sanctions up against some of the same pressures that president obama has, which is the european allies don't really want to go there. doesn't he have a very limited range of policy proposals that he can take here?
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>> no, i don't think he does. i think actually i would applaud the administration. i would think that the $1 billion in loan guarantees for ukraine is a step in the right direction. but i think that the president should move very swiftly. i think donna is right, not only do we suspend participation in the g-8 in sochi, we should move to get russia kicked out of the g-8. we should impose economic sanctions. you look at their markets. their markets are tanking in russia. why? because they're very fearful of economic sanctions. so i think the president has many options yet to play. >> and freeze their assets. >> and to you, donna, because i want to talk to you about the "washington post" op-ed that we saw, it just slammed president obama yesterday saying that he doesn't really -- his foreign policy isn't based -- it basically said that he's naive, that he's sort of thinking in a way that putin is not. that there isn't going to be aggressive responses and putin is kind of thumbing his nose and saying, you know what, i'll decide that. what did you make of that, that
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claim that president obama's view of the world is naive? >> first of all, i wish i was a cartoonist because i think i need to go ahead and reveal that president obama has strong abs and specs so they can get off this notion that somehow a guy that can ride on a horse is tougher and stronger and more decisive. i totally disagree. i think the president has used not just the right judgment in making these calls, but knowing that this is a very war-weary country. military option is not the only thing we have at our disposal. we have so much in our diplomatic toolbox. making sure that our allies -- get nato involved, ensuring that we have nato troops on the ground, ensuring that the people of the ukraine can hold elections in may. there are many ways that we can stand back and stand up to putin and going to war with putin shouldn't be our only option so that some of these folks can get on tv and score political points
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because they're in danger of lo losing their primary races. it's just shameful. >> donna brazile and ron christie, i thank you both for weighing in. appreciate it. >> happy mardi gras. coming up at the top of the hour, anderson cooper will be anchoring live from kiev. he'll have much more coverage from the region, including a live sbroo wiinterview with a f state department spokesman. up next, the latest developments in the oscar pistorius trial. the former olympian, nicknamed the blade runner, charged with murdering his girlfriend. hear why today's testimony could be the biggest blow to the prosecution' case so far.
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to nbcuniversal's coveragens of the biggest loser olympic winter games ever, with the most coverage of the most events on every device. and the most hours of streaming video on the nbc sports live extra app, including the x1 platform from xfinity. comcast was honored to bring every minute of every medal of nbcuniversal's coverage to every screen. so what's next? rio 2016. welcome to what's next. comcast nbcuniversal. blood-curdling screams and shots in the night are taking center stage for a second day in the murder trial of oscar
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pistorius. the amputee track star nicknamed the blade runner is accused of murdering his girlfriend, reeva steenkamp, on valentine's day last year in his south african home. pistorius says he mistook her for a burglar, but prosecutors maintain he killed the young model in cold blood after an argument. pistorius' neighbor returned to the stand, tear fully recalling what she heard the night steenkamp was killed. but it was this moment when the defense team cast doubt on her ability to hear the screams that may make the biggest impact. >> 177 meters away. there were only a moment before the shots and the shots of a person in a confined space, you could hear increased anxiety, fear, emotion in that moment?
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because moments later, you heard that out of a closed toilet in a house 177 meters away? >> that's correct, i heard that. >> cnn legal analyst, sunny hostin, joining me from new york to talk about this. thanks for being here, sunny. it's -- the testimony is pretty amazing. it's -- what do you think about this? is this a huge blow to the prosecution? what did he say, 157 meters away, how did you hear this? >> yeah, i don't think it's a big blow to the prosecution primarily because this is not a jury trial. since 1969 -- >> that's right. >> -- south africa doesn't have jury trials, these things are tried in front of a judge. so you have someone that is a lawyer, that is a judge, that is also playing fact-finder. so no one witness is going to be so not credible that this judge
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is going to acquit this defendant. so while it was a good day, we know that he has -- oscar pistorius has a fantastic attorney, this is the same attorney that represented the defendant that killed nelson mandela's granddaughter in a car accident and got that person acquitted. so this is a very good attorney, but this was not a game-changer for oscar pistorius today in my view. >> all right, sunny. we'll continue to follow this with you. it is televised, as i'm sure our viewers know. sunny hostin, thank you. coming up, anderson cooper will continue our coverage of the crisis in ukraine. he'll be live from kiev and talking to a former state department spokesman about what secretary of state john kerry said to ukrainian leaders and we'll ask a former u.s. army general what options are on the table. plan shoulder pain... ...and a choice take 6 tylenol in a day which is 2 aleve for... ...all day relief. hmm. [bell ring]
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good afternoon. i'm anderson cooper live in kiev with our special coverage of the crisis in you crepe. i want to welcome our viewers in the united states and viewers on cnn international. i'm on the entrance to independence square here in kiev. it is 10:00 at night on tuesday, the end of what has been a very tense and fast-moving day. you can see protesters are still here behind me trying to stay warm in the frigid night temperatures. this square is still full of
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protesters who are determined to camp out until they say they see the changes that they have fought so hard for, bled for and died for, that they see changes taking place in ukraine. this is also a shrine where hundreds if not thousands of people come every day to leave flowers, to light candles, to remember those dozens of people who lost their lives here in the struggle for change. today president obama and secretary of state john kerry are rejecting russia's reasoning for what is happening in crimea. vladimir putin gave a press conference earlier today talking about what's happening in the crimean peninsula. officials say at least 16,000 russian troops are in crimea. [ shouting ] russia claims it's protecting the interests of owe pressed ethnic russians living under a new government. but president obama as well as secretary of state john kerry, who was here in this square
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earlier today, visited the capital of kiev for several hours, insists that what russian president vladimir putin says does not match what is actually happening on the ground. >> i don't think that's fooling anybody. i think everybody recognizes that although russia has legitimate interests in what happens in a neighboring state, that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state. >> we condemn the russian federation's act of aggression. it is clear that russia has been working hard to create a pretext for being able to invade further. russia has talked about russian-speaking minority citizens who were under siege. they're not. and in fact this government has acted remarkably responsibly by urging total calm. >> earlier russia's vladimir
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putin would not acknowledge to reporters that russian troops were crimea. in fact he denied it. but he did say his intentions are not a takeover of crimea. >> translator: because we are not going to go to war with ukraine. but ukraine has the army. i want you to understand clearly. if we do this, it will only be to protect local people. >> russian officials plan a rare meeting with nato leaders tomorrow, but russia has rejected a meeting with the united states, ukraine and the united kingdom. they rejected that outright. meantime secretary kerry has promised a billion dollars in loans to ukraine. now, before we go further, i want to bring in jim sciutto, cnn international security correspondent and p.j. crowley, spokesman under president bush. jim sciutto -- jim, thanks for joining us. secretary kerry said it over and over today, the united states wants to see russia deescalate
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the crisis and to work out his problems directly with the ukrainian government. does the u.s. actually believe putin might take them up on that? >> actually the president said today he noted that there are reports that putin may be taking a pause to think about what he's done there. i don't know if that's a hopeful read of the situation. but clearly you're hearing consistently now from u.s. officials and this really started on the weekend from the nato secretary general as well, the offering up of an off-ramp in effect for russia with a couple of elements. one, the discussion of a more inclusive government in ukraine that is more representative of the ethnic russians in the eastern part of the country there as an offer to the russians, because clearly the russians feel this government -- not only do they claim it's not legitimate, they claim that it's not representative. also this offer of a monitor on the ground to evaluate these russian claims that somehow ethnic russians are under threat there. but as secretary kerry said, you know, when you listen to his
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comments, it's really a point by point rebuttal of the facts on the ground as viewed by president putin and other russian officials. kerry said, listen, there's no evidence that ethnic russians are under threat. but still they're offering these things as an opportunity to de-escalate and i'm told that the next 24 to 48 hours are key. they're going to be watching for signs that russians are willing to take that off-ramp. >> p.j., you know the world of diplomacy better than anyone. i'm curious to have your take on what you heard from vladimir putin today in that press conference. is there any chance putin has got himself out on a limb and maybe wants a way out? >> well, i think vladimir putin has achieved one thing he probably set out to do, which is to re-establish some leverage on a revolution that was spinning beyond russia's control and beyond russia's comfort level. i think the danger for putin is that in fact what's happening
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inside ukraine, as secretary kerry said, ukraine has not taken the bait that russia has offered, a comparison to what happened in georgia in 2008. and indirectly even a lot of people who were supportive of the former president yanukovych are now defending ukrainian sovereignty. so the risk for putin is that he's actually unifying ukraine in perhaps ways that he didn't anticipate. >> and is it possible he's also unifying ukraine in a more western direction, even among those who may be previously more focused on russia? >> well, that's the danger and of course that's the decision that the next government, the one that's elected in may, will have to make. does it go back into negotiations with the e.u. on a cooperation agreement that might eventually lead to accession within the e.u. and at the same time can the new government find a way to re-establish a comfort
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level, a working relationship with russia and try to allay some of the concerns that putin has laid out, right or wrong, in his narrative. >> they're going to have to have relations with russia no matter what. jim sciutto, appreciate it. p.j. crowly as well. i want to bring in cnn pentagon correspondent barbara starr who's been monitoring developments today and really over the last several days in relation to ukraine. barbara, two u.s. officials have confirmed to cnn that russia has test fired an intercontinental ballistic missile. put this into context for us. is there any reason for concern? and is there any evidence that this missile testing is linked to the situation in the ukraine or was this something that was preplanned? >> reporter: well, officials are telling us, anderson, it was preplanned. i think the headline here is just how sensitive, how tense the situation is. things can be misconstrued. there can be miscalculation.
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that's the big worry. in this case, we are told that this missile test was notified to the united states before the crisis erupted with ukraine and russia, that the u.s. knew it was coming. that the russians gave them the correct notification procedure, that they notified them it would happen in a four-hour period, in a four-hour window and that's exactly what happened earlier today. the test firing took place in kazakhstan, landing in a remote area. all of that said, you know, these things can -- these situations, any factor that's not fully understood can spin things out of control, so in this case the united states wanted to make it very clear they knew about this, it was preplanned. perhaps the unanswered question is couldn't putin have delayed it? preplanned or not, he decided to go ahead with it at this very tense time. anderson. >> and, barbara, i'm curious to hear what you've been hearing from the pentagon today on or
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off the record. when vladimir putin says that the russian forces on the ground are not in fact russian forces, that they're just militia, self defense, local militias, given their uniforms, given their level of armament and evident experience, does anyone in the pentagon buy that? because nobody on the ground here in kiev buys that and none of the reporters in crimea buy that as well. >> reporter: no. you know, maybe there's a few people that are, you know, hired on for this operation, but make no mistake, this is russian military capability you see there. i think the president of the united states even said it on friday, russian military moves, you are seeing hielicopters, artillery, armored vehicles on the ground. regardless of whether the men on the ground, the armed men ripped their shoulder patches off or not, this is russian military capability you see there. they have thousands of forces
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even prior to this. all of that under an agreement they had with ukraine. some of those moved out into the countryside. they put additional forces in and they still have more than 100,000 forces just across the border. that's what the u.s. is watching very carefully right now, anderson. they believe, the u.s. believes putin might make up his mind in the next couple of days about what his next military steps are going to be. no one can read his mind at this point. there's no predictions. but i have to tell you, everyone i am talking to says they are watching with laser focus to get any indication, collect all the intelligence they can to see if they can define what he might do next. anderson. >> all right. no administration over the last several years has had much luck in doing. coming up next, is russia allowed to send troops into ukraine? are there prior existing treaties that allow that?
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details of a 1997 treaty signed by the two countries and why vladimir putin may use it to defend his action in crimea. the question is, is that legitimate? we'll talk about that ahead. gas at the same location.inl during the day, we generate as much electricity as we can using solar. at night and when it's cloudy, we use more natural gas. this ensures we can produce clean electricity whenever our customers need it. ♪ but with less energy, moodiness, and a low sex drive, i had to do something. i saw my doctor. a blood test showed it was low testosterone, not age. we talked about axiron the only underarm low t treatment that can restore t levels to normal in about two weeks in most men. axiron is not for use in women or anyone younger than 18 or men with prostate or breast cancer.
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which will help me get to miami...and they'll be stuck at the cube farm. the citi thankyou preferred card. now earn two times the points on dining out with no annual fee. go to citi.com/thankyoucards. welcome back. i'm anderson cooper reporting live from kiev. i'm at one of the entrances to independence square where there are still hundreds of protesters camping out here who are determined to stay until they see the change that they fought and they died for starting to actually take root with the new government here in ukraine. i'm in front of what's really a shrine where there are thousands of flowers.
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and this is just one of dozens of shrines all throughout independence square, if not hundreds of shrines. there's an enormous barricade here. you may not be able to see it in the darkness, a barricade made out of tires, out of corrugated steel, fences, sandbags, whatever people could get. it was a barricade used against riot police a little more than a week and a half ago when some of the fiercest fighting took place. this is just the first line of defense on this street heading into independence square. there's about five or six levels of barricades going into the square. this is on all the streets that feed into independence square. as you know, thousands of russian troops now occupy crimea in the southeast of this country, a peninsula in southern ukraine. this occupation taking place on land and in the sea as well with russian warships today clocking the narrow kerch strait between crimea and russia. but russian president, vladimir putin, gave a press conference
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today and says that the 22,000 estimated troops in crimea are not russian soldiers. most experts on the ground say that's completely ridiculous, completely not true. he says they are self defense teams and insists this is not an invasion. he may be technically right. in 1997 russia and ukraine signed a treaty which may allow up to 25,000 russian troops in crimea without it being considered an invasion. ken delaney, an intelligence and national security reporter at the "los angeles times" joins us now. ken, what more can you tell us about this treaty? my understanding of it, even though it may allow that number of troops, it has to be done or any movement of troops has to be done with the cooperation of the ukrainian government, correct? >> yeah, anderson, that's my understanding as well. and i was reading through the treaty this morning and it talks a lot about mutual respect for sovereignty and tear trritory s clearly there's a case to be made that the russians are
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violating the treaty with the actions that they have taken. but cia director john brennan in conversations with a key lawmaker on monday was sort of raising the issue of this treaty as an example of what putin could say to justify his actions and why, you know, they're not calling it an invasion. i mean the troops are allowed to be based there, up to 25,000, and so it seems like they're still under that threshold. so that may be -- i guess putin is taking a different line today, but ultimately that could be -- that could be the case he makes. >> i read the article that you wrote in "the l.a. times" and i think it's fascinating. i don't think a lot of people knew about this treaty or the particulars of it. it took less than 24 hours for russian troops to assume control of crimea. was the united states completely caught off guard? what do we know about the intelligence, u.s. intelligence on the situation in ukraine, particularly in crimea? >> well, it seems like there was a mixed picture offered by the
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intelligence community. i'm learning today, you know, one agency appears to have said, no, we don't think this is going to happen and the cia may have said we think it's a possibility. nobody -- nobody is suggesting that there was a good, solid prediction made that this was going to happen. there's a sense that the administration was caught a little bit flat-footed and there's a sense that our sources -- u.s. intelligence sources in this region aren't great. let's face it, we spent more than a decade with terrorism being the top priority and so, you know, the question is have traditional espionage muscles, stealing secrets, recruiting sources to get this information, have those atrophied and did we see that play out in this case. but there appears to have been at least some intelligence assessment that this movement of troops was a possibility last week. >> so that's interesting, you wrote about this again in your article, but that the fight against terrorism over the last
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ten-plus years as actually -- may have actually atrophied u.s. intelligence capabilities in other nonterror-related areas like russia, like territories like ukraine? >> yeah, that's certainly what you hear from former case officers, cia people that spent their lives in this endeavor. that, you know, the career path that was most rewarded over the last decade was counterterrorism. books have been written about this. the cia has excelled at manhunting over the last decade. and killing people with drones, and finding terrorists in the tribal regions of pakistan. and less emphasis, perhaps, has been placed on the traditional art of espionage, of recruiting a russian colonel at this base in crimea that could tell you when troops were on the move. so the people that i've talked to with experience in this region say it's likely that the agency sources are not great on this question of russia's intentions and what was going to happen with the troops. >> interesting.
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ken, appreciate you being on, thank you very much, this afternoon. the markets reacting to the events going on in crimea and in ukraine. after tanking yesterday, the dow in the united states up almost 250 points right now. we'll explain what's behind the big turn-around when we come back. [ male announcer ] this is the cat that drank the milk... [ meows ]
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welcome back to our continuing coverage live from kiev of the crisis here in ukraine. stocks in the united states are back up after worries over a military conflict between russia and ukraine subsided somewhat. the dow in the united states is up about 250 points. the s&p reached a new all-time high. and nasdaq hit a 14-year high.
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we're joined by our global economic analyst. the european and asian markets also did well today. this is obviously a big turn-around from just yesterday. what's going on? >> well, in short putin called back the troops to their barracks. we're not worried about an out-and-out military conflict blowing up right now and that has calmed markets. they were very worried about that question. the reason you're seeing the u.s. markets in particular go up is that the u.s. still looks like the best bet in a very tumultuous global market. i think any banks or energy companies that have exposure to russia or the entire region, that was really the big worry yesterday. the flow of gas from russia into europe. europe gets about 40% of its natural gas from russia. a lot of those pipelines flow right through the ukraine. so there were worries that in the middle of winter you might have gas and energy shortages in
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europe. those worries have subsided somewhat and markets are calming. >> all right, rana, appreciate the update. when rana mentioned vladimir putin calling troops back to their barracks, she was talking about the military exercise taking place on the borders with crimea and with ukraine. those military exercises were called to a halt. obviously there are still russian forces on the ground outside their barracks in crimea. russian moves troops into crimea, their military exercises in russia, which as we just talk about, finally called to an end. russia also fired a long-range missile. what can we learn from the military moves? we'll talk to a general about vladimir putin's strategy in crimea. we'll be right back. ♪ ♪
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welcome back to our continuing coverage of the crisis here in ukraine. it is about 10:30 on tuesday night, the end of what has been a very fast-moving day. over the past half hour or so we've been reporting about russia test-firing a long-range missile, a test that they said was preplanned before this situation in crimea. the test occurred today in russia's central region. general marks join us from washington, retired from the u.s. army. general marks, it's good to have you on the program. what do you make of this missile test? they say and the united states was saying this is preplanned. any reason for concern about it? >> i don't think so, anderson. clearly when the russian federation announces that they're about to have a missile launch, and clearly they have had thousands of missile launches before, i don't think we should make much of this. clearly in the context of what's taking place in crimea, we're going to put what i would call a
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much greater spotlight on the incident, but i don't think there's much to this other than what was routinely already on the shelf. >> former secretary of state madeline albright and angela merkel, we've heard from both and both remarked that vladimir putin might have delusional. do you see anything in his actions, in ukraine, in crimea, that makes you share that assessment? or do you see him as a rational actor? >> anderson, i certainly can't speak to the conversations that those two great leaders have had with putin. what i can say is that these activities that putin has undertaken already clearly indicates to me that he's a very rational leader. he subscribes to the notion of practical, tough politics in order for him to achieve his national interests. and he also sees just -- he really is -- he's subject to
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what i call the tyranny of geography. russia is a land-locked country two-thirds of the year. his only access is through the black sea, and that's crimea, so it's extremely important for him that that not spin out of control and end up in a european sphere that further puts pressure on him. i see this as putin acting clearly in his own best interests. >> and no matter what happens here, no matter how much of a tilt toward the west or toward the european union there may be or desire there may be on the parts of particularly people in western ukraine, when you look at the geography, ukraine has to have relations and will remain reliant in many ways on russia in the coming years. so regardless of what is happening right now, there has to be some sort of a diplomatic solution that's worked out, because that relationship has to continue, just as a matter of geography, correct? >> absolutely correct, anderson.
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clearly russia understands that and putin understands that imminently. russian gas, natural gas and oil flows through ukraine. putin understands that as well. but if this becomes too hard, if putin pushes too hard, it's not inconceivable that the european union would begin to buy its gas from others, such as the united states, from the united kingdom. so he is walking a very delicate line right now. that's why i don't anticipate that putin is going to take any other move in ukraine, that what he's achieved in crimea allows him to establish certainty that it's not going flip and be something he won't be able to access and he's going to hold this. ironically in two weeks if everything remains as it is, he remains a good guy for not taking additional bad moves. that's the irony and we have to be prepared to realize that crimea is probably going to be annexed and there will be no roll back of russian forces in
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crimea back to some status quo. it's just not going to happen. >> i'm curious, i think i know the answer to this and i know your answer to this because it's the answer of just about every military analyst -- >> maybe i'll surprise you. >> when vladimir putin says that it's not russian -- well, no. when vladimir putin says it's not russian military forces on the ground in crimea, when you look at their weaponry, when you look at just their bearing, does that -- is there even a shadow of a doubt in your mind that these are russian forces? >> there's no doubt in my mind that they're russian forces. he may be labeling these forces self defense forces, guard forces, part of a larger crimea force. that's a distinction without a difference. these are russian soldiers on the ground in crimea executing what looks like a very effective military operation.
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>> effective indeed, just within a matter of 24 hours taking control of crimea. general marks, appreciate you being on. thanks very much. always good to have you on. we're just getting word that canada is halting its military operations with russia. its prime minister said it will suspend all planned bilateral activities between canadian armed forces and the russian federation military. now, the u.s., obviously, made a similar move on monday. canada following the u.s. on that. the u.s. threatening sanctions against russia, as are others. we'll take a look at what that might mean and tell you about a secret document captured on cram that indicate some of our closest allies are not on board with that. that's next.
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hey, welcome back. i'm anderson cooper with our continuing coverage of the crisis here in ukraine. the u.s.'s condemnation of russia's aggression in ukraine could lead to sanctions. now, the u.s. is promising to impose them if vladimir putin opposes stepping back from crimea. >> the senate foreign relations committee is, as we speak, developing a bipartisan legislative package to provide critical support to the ukraine and at the same time pursue a series, a menu of sanctions for those who violate international law. you must say what you mean and mean what you say and that is what we intend to do. >> well, there's one major potential problem. not all u.s. allies may support those sanctions. here now to talk about that and discuss what kind of penalties the u.s. may be able to impose and how the allies would react, especially the european union, our cnn correspondent tom
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foreman and becky anderson live in london. tom, let me start with you. what do we know about potential sanctions right now proposed by the u.s.? >> what we know is a lot of talk and nothing is concrete yet. we've got plans for the g-8 in sochi have been suspended. trade and investment talks with russia have been cancelled. beyond that we seem to be talking, anderson, about this broad sense of economic pressure, whatever that might be. we do know that russia could be ripe for some kind of pressure. they were hit very hard by the recession in 2008. look at this, gdp of the u.s. almost $17 trillion a year. gdp of the european union almost $16 trillion a year. the gdp of russia, about $2.6 trillion. by comparison, that is small. it might be pushed around by these other bigger economies if, if as you noted, anderson, they all get together on it. >> and that's a huge if right now. becky, let me bring you in on that from london.
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there was a secret document actually captured on camera, which is fascinating, indicates that the united kingdom is not on board with sanctions or may not be on board with sanctions. what do we know about it? >> yeah, whether by default or by design, as some are suggesting here, the display of that document being carried by a senior british official to a national security council meeting in the past 24 hours or so is, one, an embarrassment to the u.k. but two, sort of clearly shows this stance by the u.k. which would be long-term sanctions between the u.k. and russia, would be economically very difficult. now, it is our understanding that document didn't actually make the sort of final policy discussions when it comes to e.u. sanctions going forward. but the very fact it said things like do not close london's financial center to russians, is
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really important here. let's be quite frank. some $60 billion or so of trade between the u.k. and russia is -- goes on, on an annual basis. coming back the other way is about $40 billion. this is about russians investing in london and its financial center and, indeed, in property and businesses here across the u.k. now, back to the disclosure of that document, snapped by one of the photographers here on downing street, this is what the foreign secretary, william hague, had to say about that a little earlier on. >> any such photographing or making any documents available for photographing is absolutely regrettable and should not happen. i hope all officials will ensure in the future it does not happen. nevertheless, it should also be seen in perspective, so i can't agree with him that it has those implications. i want to make absolutely clear
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that anything that is written in one document being carried by one official is not necessarily any guide to the decisions that will be made by her majesty's government. and our options remain very much open on this subject. >> and officially, anderson, the word from here, number 10 downing street, which of course is the residence of the british prime minister, is that he is in lock-step with his international partners. let me just read you and our viewers what was said today. the u.k. has made it clear that continuing to violate ukraine's sovereignty will have costs and consequences. we will take decisions on what these are in close collaboration with the e. umptu. and g-7 and together are considering a range of diplomatic, political and economic measures. but as tom rightly points out and as you've been discussing, what those economic measures might be, what these trade sanctions could be, what the freezing of potential assets of russians could be is really in
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play at the moment. and i certainly don't believe, nor do those experts i've been speaking to today, believe that there is a cohesive e.u. policy on trade sanctions with russia at this point. >> and, becky, there are plenty of very wealthy russians doing business in the united kingdom, for example, and in past years, the united kingdom has been reluctant to try to curtail those kind of activities based on things that vladimir putin is doing, correct? so it wouldn't be completely out of the realm of belief the united kingdom might drag its feet on limiting financial interactions with russians? >> i think you make a very good point. you know, a number of the football clubs, is a number of business and number of the football clubs are owned by russians. in the past we've given economic asylum to russians who have fallen out with moscow and the
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kremlin. there is a very difficult diplomatic decision to be made by all e.u. countries at this pointing, not least, for example, the germans, who do even more business with the russians on a bilateral basis than we do here in the u.k. listen, we all understand and agree that energy is the battleground that nobody wants a fight on between the e.u. and russia at this point. we take about a third of our energy from russia, and in turn we pay their bills. both sides of that equation is very important. but you rightly point out, it's more than just energy at this point, and there are legacies here upon which decisions i think will be made going forward. >> becky anderson, great to have you on the program. tom foreman as well. thanks very much. reuters is reporting russia's foreign minister spokesman saying that if the united states applies sanctions, saying that if the u.s. applies sanctions, russia will, quote, have to respond. left unsaid exactly what that
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response would be. now, critics say president obama has had a weak foreign policy and that gave vladimir putin the confidence to move troops into the ukraine. our next guest says not so fast. that's next. dentures are very different to real teeth. they're about 10 times softer and may have surface pores where bacteria can multiply. polident kills 99.99% of odor causing bacteria and helps dissolve stains. that's why i recommend polident. [ male announcer ] cleaner, fresher, brighter every day.
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welcome back to our continuing coverage of the crisis in ukraine. president obama has been getting a lot of criticism for his
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actions regarding ukraine, criticizing the president is one thing, but suggesting that his past actions and policies have somehow encouraged putin to act is quite another. cnn political commentator joins us, peter bynar, contributing editor for atlantic media, joins me from new york. peter, i just read your latest article and it's really fascinating. you say there is no way that president obama's foreign policy has encouraged vladimir putin to act. explain. >> well, first of all, vladimir putin did something very similar in 2008 when he sent russian troops into georgia to spark secessionist movements there, so it's a little hard to say that barack obama's policies led vladimir putin to start throwing his weight around in former soviet republics when he did the same thing under a guy named george w. bush. >> president bush, who, by the way, talked about looking into -- basically seeing vladimir putin's soul. >> right.
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and the larger stories -- i'm not saying this in any way to justify putin's thuggish behavior, but to suggest that russia is on the march here is to forget that a couple of decades ago when i was growing up, the borders of the soviet empire reached all oh if barack obama is a winp for not more aggressively confronting russia's invasion of crimea, then what do we call dwight eisenhower who stood by during budapest. americans are not willing to put our son's and daughter's lives on the line. that doesn't mean we can't use economic sanctions and all sorts of things, but this really didn't start with barack obama. >> you also write about sort of this conflict from the perspective of vladimir putin,
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and it's an interesting way to look at it. you say you're not in any way justifying his actions in crimea, which are not justifiable but from his perspective, the west has actually continued to move further east in ways that at the time of the fall of the soviet union would have been unthinkable to many even in the united states. >> right. in 1990, in february 1990, james baker who was the secretary of state promised the united states would never put troops in east germany, let alone holland, hungary. i'm not saying that that nato expansion was a bad thing. but if you're being looking at it from moscow's point of view, you don't see the west in retreat. you see the west pushing further and further towards your borders. vladimir putin's way of
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responding to this i think is crude and lawless but to say somehow the united states is in retreat in that part of the world makes no sense to me. >> is there a danger on the part of the united states and the european union in promising too much to ukraine given just the geography of this region and the reliance that ukraine has on russia, whether they want to or not? >> right. this is a really important balances act. we need to strengthen the government in kiev and give it more legitimacy. this government was not elected. we also do a real disservice to the people of ukraine if we gave them the impression that when push comes to shove, nato is going to fight for them inside ukraine because we are not. you can't go to ordinary
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americans, especially in the wake of iraq and afghanistan, and tell them that we're going to put our soldiers in harm's way, we're just not going to. so we have to try to make sure that we strengthen them as we can, but we don't make promises that we can't keep. >> peter, thanks very much. the kremlin and the white house. we're going to be focusing on that coming up. it's not the first time that the two have been at odds. we're going to take a look at how the u.s. has puzzled u.s. leaders in many different ways. ♪ [ cellphone rings ] hello? [ male announcer ] over 12,000 financial advisors. good, good. good. over $700 billion dollars in assets under care. let me just put this away. [ male announcer ] how did edward jones get so big? could you teach our kids that trick? [ male announcer ] by not acting that way. ok, last quarter... [ male announcer ] it's how edward jones makes sense of investing.
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welcome back. secretary of state john kerry told vladimir putin, who had just given a press conference, would not acknowledge invading troops were russian. >> occupying the crimea, he blamed the crisis on the united states' interference saying that -- >> he really defied that there were troops in crimea? >> yes, he did. he also blamed the crisis on -- >> that's just the latest example. our suzanne malveaux joins us from d.c. with more on how putin certainly pushes a lot of buttons of the united states.
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suzanne? >> anderson, it was almost five years ago that president obama announced he wanted to reset relations with russia but we've watched this attempt of a reset time and time again as president bush tried to read vladimir putin's intentions over the years and now obama. you can't really win predicting what putin is going to do next but that certainly has not stopped anyone from trying. when george w. bush met vladimir putin -- >> i looked the man in the eye. i found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. >> reporter: the bromance was termed naive, especially when russia offered support to syria and iran. >> when you say you looked into his eyes and his soul, you'll be meeting with the russian leader in about a week or. so what do you think about now providing weapons to outlaw regimes. >> i know that putin understands the dangers of iran with a
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nuclear weapon. >> reporter: an observation even obama acknowledged over the years. >> i know the press likes to focus on the body language and he's got the slouch looking like the bored kid in the back of the classro classroom. >> reporter: nobody is bored now. some democrats and republicans even questioning putin's sanity for pushing the world to the brink. >> i think he like to strike on the world stage and it could have an impact on him psychologically. >> i think putin is in many ways delusional about this. >> reporter: trying to get a read on the former kgb agent, fond of flaunting his bare chest and hunting game can be a movie target and, of course, a political mine field. relations with russia once seen as a punch line. >> and i can see russia from my house. >> reporter: people are not laughing now. >> people are looking at putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil.
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they look at our president as one who wears mom jeans. >> reporter: could anybody predict that putin would be such a pain now? mitt romney did but he was mocked in 2012. >> when you were asked about what is the biggest geopolitical threat facing the united states, you said russia. the united states are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the cold war has been over for 20 years. >> i have clear eyes on this. i'm not going to wear rose-colored eyes when it comes to russia or mr. putin. >> president obama very careful not to attack president putin. a different set of lawyers are making interpretations for his aggression regarding ukraine but senior officials are not confident that they can predict where putin's head is at and what he will do next. anderson? >> suzanne malveaux, thanks very
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much. i'm going to be back live for ac 360 at 8:00 p.m. our coverage of the crisis in the ukraine continues with "the lead with jake tapper." jake? >> vladimir putin says there are no russian troops in ukraine. regardless of what you see on tv. i am excited to hear his explanation of that intercontinental ballistic missile russia just tested. as russia has the world on edge, tensions are rising by the second. are we nearing a tipping point? moves at sea. it has seen empires and iron curtains come and go at this critical gateway to crimea and the black sea. cnn was on the water today as ukrainian and russi